For us avid Bronco fans, the game was dismal from the start. It was a game I could barely watch, right from the beginning. Nothing went as planned. It was an awful Saturday night.
I have been in Head Coach John Fox’s corner for most the year. I respect what he’s done with the team, and I truly believe he’s leading the Broncos in a positive direction, but when the Broncos won the coin toss on Saturday and Fox elected to defer, giving Tom Brady and the Patriot offence the ball, I knew right away things weren’t going to go as planned.
When playing at home, I am all about deferring and taking the ball to open the second half. You have a rowdy and noisy crowd that can actually help the defense in that first-quarter series. On the road, though, it just doesn’t work that way, and in a game against the powerful, tight-end-heavy offense of the Patriots, you take the ball first. The game plan for the Broncos was to try keep up with Brady’s scoring, so why give him the ball first?
Anyway, Brady took the ball and stuffed it down the Broncos throat. Of course, it was up to Denver’s offense then, led by our savior Tim Tebow, and they couldn’t keep up. They could barely get first downs. That’s basically the game in a nutshell, really.
My mood throughout the game, leading to the 45-10 stomping, became a downward spiral I couldn’t snap. I was like Jack Torrance all night. No offense and spotty defense makes Gus an ugly guy. No offense and spotty defense makes Gus an ugly guy. No offense…
My saving grace for Saturday evening is that I had tickets to see Robert Earl Keen in Crested Butte later that evening. To improve my wretched mood at the start of the fourth quarter, I got out my best dancing boots, took a few shots of cheap bourbon and got prepared to partake in just what was needed: A night of boot scooting, beer drinking, and partying to the country sounds of Mr. Keen.
After getting amped to just the right level, my mood sank again. As it turned out, the concert was a night of singer/songwriters sitting on stools playing songs. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy that kind of music, but what was needed was a night of screaming and dancing. So there I sat stuffed into an undersized padded seat in a small theatre in my dancing boots, stewed up on rotgut whiskey only to listen to an evening of quiet country songs. It wasn’t enough to pull my mind from the game.
No offense and spotty defense makes Gus an ugly guy. That’s how I made it to bed Saturday evening.
While my mood improved slightly after a morning of great ice fishing, I slipped back into my post-Broncos-defeat mood when I returned to Ridgway. But things for me would soon change upon watching the afternoon playoff rout the New York Giants handed the Green Bay Packers. Yes, the high-and-mighty Green Bay Packers were beaten down by a score of 37-20, in Lambeau Field of all places. They are no longer the defending Super Bowl Champions.
I watched the ending of that game with great interest, as those heartbroken Green Bay fans looked much the way I did the previous evening. Their world had just been turned upside down. They too had just experienced a wretched loss, yet their loss was much more of a surprise than Denver’s.
Suddenly, I had a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. The Green Bay Packers actually made me feel better about my Denver Broncos. Here was a team on top of the world. Remember when the sporting world talked about whether or not this would be the next team to go undefeated in NFL history? Yes, the Packers were that good. They were a shoo-in to another Super Bowl appearance and more than likely Super Bowl Champions once again. The look on those poor fans faces on Sunday evening was a sight to see. They had everything, and now have nothing.
The Broncos on the other hand, starting the season off at 1-4, had nothing and gained everything. And in the end, they made it as far as last year’s Super Bowl Champions did. The Broncos did it with a left-handed quarterback that no so-called football expert believed could succeed. Yes, Tebow and Aaron Rodgers are, in the end, equals this year.
At this point in the season, there are two competing stories for the “biggest surprise of the year.” Tebow’s leading the Broncos to the second round of the playoffs is one surprise. The demise of the Packers is the other surprise. Well, faced with both of those, I guess I am pretty damn happy to be on the Tebow side of things.
Things will be grim in Green Bay until the start of next season as a thick blanket of disappointment smothers the region. Here in Bronco Country, we are excited about next season’s possibilities, with John Elway already naming Tebow the starter going into training camp. (Which, in reality is funny, because the Broncos have no other quarterbacks under contract yet.)
My only thought moving forward in this crazy NFL season is that I hope Ray Lewis and the boys are able to stomp on Brady next weekend. Man, I hate those Patriots. And if not, well you better believe I’ll be cheering for the NFC in the Super Bowl.